ELECTION COMMISSION is the WARNING COMMISSION OF INDIA
It is not that the important functionaries of the political parties in India, particularly those ruling at the Centre and the States holding ministerial posts are unaware of the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct that is enforced by the Election Commission of India (EC) the moment it announces the election schedule for general elections to any State assembly or Parliament or by-elections. Yet they deliberately defy the EC diktat for political and electoral gains.
Now take the recent case of the Oil Minister Verappa Moily announcing the Union Government decision to increase the number of LPG gas cylinders on subsidized basis at the height of Gujarat assembly elections. As is the routine, the EC in a perfunctory manner immediately called for an explanation from the Minister concerned for violating the Code of Conduct. The Hon’ble Minister dutifully submitted his side of the story. The EC issued him a stern warning and the matter ended there.
Similarly, the Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde addressing an election rally in Gujarat told the electorate that it was only Congress President Sonia Gandhi who could appoint a Muslim as chief of the Intelligence Bureau. It was certainly a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and an appeal to the voters on communal lines. Yet, the EC preferred to keep its eyes and ears shut to its own defiance.
It is not that the violations took place only recently. During the UP assembly elections this year, there was spate of violations, mostly at the hands of Union Ministers, obviously with a definite design by Salman Khursheed, Beni Persad Verma, even Rahul Gandhi and the like, to quote only a few names. The other parties contesting the election too were not far behind. In all these cases, the old story was repeated. The EC was as quick to seek explanations and to bury the hatchet by issuing ‘stern warnings’.
After the elections are over, it looks as if all these instances of deliberate violations are forgotten and forgiven.
The only instance worth mentioning is that of Shiv Sena chief late Bal Thackeray who was hauled up for making a communal speech and his voting rights were withdrawn.
Despite the Model Code of Conduct and the vigilant eye of the EC, the violators of the law and the Commission directives get away with attaining the objectives they have in view when they defy the EC. They make their message reach the constituency of voters intended. The EC warning is just a routine, useless because it cannot in any way undo the mischief that has been created by the action of any political party or its leader.
The ‘stern’ warnings issued each time by the EC to the habitual offenders can be compared to that of a policeman with a gun and lathi in his hand shouting at a thief eloping with the booty of his theft blaring out, “Don’t dare to do it again, otherwise……..”
Certainly, the EC is proving itself to be a toothless tiger which can certainly howl and growl but cannot bite.